HANOVER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) — Federal investigators say the pilot of a small experimental plane spoke of a problem with the aircraft shortly before it went down in a northeastern Pennsylvania farm last month, killing himself and another person.
Authorities in Luzerne County said the two-seat aircraft came down shortly after 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 in Hanover Township about 100 feet from where children were on a hayride at Dorian’s Farm. No one on the ground was injured but the pilot and a passenger in the plane were killed.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report that the two had flown from a Lebanon County airport to the Hazleton Regional Airport and then on to Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport, where the pilot told a friend that a rigging issue seemed to cause the Bearhawk Patrol airplane to “kick” laterally during turns.
At his suggestion, the friend took a 10-minute flight in the plane and “reported that he noticed the odd yawing moment in the turns.” The pilot “responded that he would address the issue ‘this winter,” investigators said in the report.
The plane departed after lunch and refueling and was heading back to the Lebanon County airport, but it was only in the air for a few minutes after climbing to 1,700 feet. Witnesses said it “rolled” and then “bucked” as its nose “dipped down initially" and then pitched up “quickly,” before it went down, the report said.
The Luzerne County coroner's office identified the two victims as Michael Bowen, 59, of Jonestown, and Ronald Snyder 76, of Bernville,